"We just need to find a way to have a better start to our second half," said head coach Charlene Morett. "We played very well in the first half, as we have all season, but during the start to our second half we just didn't play connected. I think that's where we dug ourselves a hole...We had an opportunity, but we just couldn't finish."
Halfway through the final period, Connecticut was awarded their fourth and final penalty corner of the game, giving the Huskies an opportunity to take the lead. Marie Elena Bolles, the current leading point scorer for UConn, tallied her second of the game with 23 minutes left to play. She was assisted by the 2011 Big East Rookie of the Year, Chloe Hunnable.
Senior Kelsey Amy put Penn State on the board first at the 11:14 mark in the opening half, with junior Whitney Reddig taking the Lions' second penalty corner of the match. Reddig found Amy in prime position at the front of the net, earning an assist off of the leading point scorer's third goal of the season. An intense battle ensued, with the Lions edging out the Huskies in shots at 7-6 in the opening 35 minutes. Penn State also led in penalty corners, 4-2, in the first half.
However, Connecticut goalkeeper Sarah Mansfield would hold strong the remainder of the contest, as the All-American made six saves in the 70 minutes. The two squads went back and forth in scoring opportunities in the opening 10 minutes of the second period, but the Huskies gained momentum after Hunnable shot the ball wide at the 45:30 mark. Alicia Angelini would gain possession, finding Bolles as she took a pass from out of bounds. Bolles tied the game 1-1 moments later for her third of the season.
The Lions continued to fight hard, gaining another penalty corner as the clock hit 49:44. With a pass from Reddig, Amy fired one of her six shots of the game, but was denied by Mansfield. Two minutes later, Hunnable set up Bolles for the game-winning goal to set the score at 2-1.
After five shots and two penalty corners in what remained of the game, Penn State still could not come back to tie the match and force overtime. The Lions outshot the Huskies 16-12 and had an advantage in penalty corners with 7-4. Goalkeeper Ayla Halus was tremendous in goal, making four saves against Connecticut. "Ayla was outstanding," said Morett.
Penn State returns home on Sunday, Sept. 2, for a 2 p.m. contest against Lafayette. The Lions hold a 16-2 all-time series record against the Leopards. No. 4 Princeton will visit Happy Valley on Thursday, Sept. 6, for the squad's fourth nationally ranked team in five games.
Source: PSU Athletics